Woman Kidnapped, Assaulted While Working as Lyft Driver Sues Rideshare Company

Blizzard Greenberg complaint alleges crime spree targeting drivers 

HOUSTON – A Houston-area woman who was sexually assaulted and held at gunpoint while working as a Lyft driver has filed a lawsuit against the company. 


Attorneys at Blizzard Greenberg represent the victim, identified as J.W., in the lawsuit filed against Lyft and the attacker, Kenneth Kelley, who police say they later connected to a robbery ring responsible for a string of crimes against more than a dozen rideshare drivers. 


A federal grand jury in Houston recently indicted Kelley and five others on a combined 24 counts including interference with commerce by robbery and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. 


“My client was terrified of losing her life over a $3.94 ride,” said sexual assault lawyer Anna Greenberg. “Lyft’s safety policies are inadequate and are geared towards protecting passengers, rather than both passengers and drivers. This horrifying incident could have been avoided if only the company would make driver safety a priority too.” 


J.W. was working part time as a Lyft driver in June 2023 for extra income when she declined a ride request because she wanted to end her shift and return home to her family. Through the Lyft app, the company then sent her a warning that declining rides can result in penalties for drivers, including loss of the ability to drive for the company. A second request came through from the same passenger and she accepted. 


J.W. picked up the passenger, identified as Kelley, and was approaching the drop-off location when the lawsuit says he pulled out a gun, held it to her head and demanded that she continue driving.  


According to the lawsuit, Kelley began describing the sexual things he planned to do to her, including holding a gun to the back of her head while assaulting her. Terrified, J.W. began praying out loud and began talking with the attacker in hopes he would let her live. 


After pulling into a dead-end street, Kelley told J.W. to get out of the car and she says he sexually assaulted her. J.W. was able to get back into her car and drive away after promising Kelley she would return to pick him up later. Instead, she contacted police. 


Officers with the Houston Police Department arrested Kelley along with his co-conspirators, who are accused of a nearly three-month-long crime spree involving abducting, robbing and assaulting rideshare drivers. 


According to the lawsuit, public records show Kelley’s first Lyft victim was kidnapped and robbed in April of 2023. The driver reported the crimes to the company, which failed to timely inform police and allowed Kelley to continue to use the Lyft App. The complaint alleges this negligence led to the crimes against other rideshare drivers and the attack on J.W. 


In addition to the federal charges, Kelley has been indicted on 10 state criminal charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated kidnapping and sexual assault. He was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals. 


The case is J.W. v Lyft, Inc. et al., cause number 2024-33708 in Harris County District Court. 


About Blizzard Greenberg, PLLC 

Blizzard Greenberg, PLLC, is an award-winning national trial firm with more than 40 years of experience handling complex legal issues involving pharmaceutical and personal injury cases. For more information, visit www.blizzardlaw.com. 


Media Contact:  

Alyssa Woulfe 



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